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Oral healthcare in the community

02 May 2023
Volume 28 · Issue 5


Oral health is an essential part of a person's wellbeing. However, with increasing community nursing caseloads and more severe issues to tend to, dental hygiene might be overlooked in patients who are in the community. In this article, Sarah Jane Palmer discusses how nurses in the community can assess oral health, the types of assistance and provisions available/given to older adults/disabled individuals, and the extent of research and advice available for community nurses.

Oral health is an essential part of an individual's overall well-being. However, this can be overlooked when tending to other, more serious health issues. For example, in the community nursing setting, large leg wounds are tended to, unstable blood sugars are the priority, or a patient may have multiple disabilities and a complex array of health needs. Oral health is important; yet, with the staffing difficulties we see in the NHS and social care systems, it is hard to ensure the amount of care given to the patient involves everything, including oral hygiene tasks. This is why it is essential to bring to the attention of the carers and the wider team of community nurses that this health aspect might be overlooked, and careful consideration should be made, as the patient can be at risk if this part of their care is not fulfilled. Often, a patient is able to do much of the tasks themselves and may require prompting or even training in appropriate oral hygiene, but some rely heavily on others to do this task for them.

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